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Advice on How to Value and Negotiate for a Unique Domain Name

radar81

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Jul 23, 2019
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I'm looking to buy a .com domain that has a private registration. It's for my full name: (firstname)(lastname).com, and my last name is relatively uncommon.

So the domain name is super unique and probably isn't worth much to many people except for the person who owns it and a minuscule handful of other people. The whois registration is private, but I think that I have identified the guy that owns it and I could contact him through social media. He has owned it since 2008 and it appears to be set to autorenew every year. Checking the wayback machine, he has had a really crappy WordPress site there since 2009 and hasn't updated it in years.

I'd like to try to buy the domain and negotiate directly with the owner rather than paying one of these agency services. Thoughts on this strategy? What is this type of domain worth and what should I offer?

 

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biophase

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If you and the current owner have the exact same name, the domain is worth infinite amounts to both of you. For example, I would not sell my firstnamelastname.com domain name to someone else unless he offered me alot of money for it. Thinking while typing this out, I'd probably let it go for $50k, definitely not for $20k, maybe somewhere inbetween.

But if I had miketoinsidige.com I probably wouldn't care how much I got for it. However, if you show up and your name is Mike Toinsidige and want this domain, my price would probably go up.
 
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radar81

radar81

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Jul 23, 2019
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@biophase That's not the answer I wanted to hear, but I think you are right.

Right now I could only offer low 4 figures. Do you think I ought to try to contact him now and see if he'll sell it for 4 figures, or wait for a while until I have more $ to negotiate with? I'm not necessarily in a huge rush. I'm in my late 30's. The other guy looks to be about 15-20 years older than me. I just want to own the domain eventually.
 

Primeperiwinkle

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I’d memorize half of Voss’ book Never Split The Difference before I even contacted the guy. For all you know he bought the domain for his kid.
 

Rawseed

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That money and time would likely be better spent building a productocracy.

I've never been to jeffbezos.com, but I spend way too much time on amazon.com.
 

Yoda

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My (firstname)(lastname).com has been for sale for 6 years. It was originally $20,000.

It's now down to just $19,998.

I contact them once per year, and it's never budged a penny.

EMD's for a name can extraordinarily difficult. Having an "uncommon" last name actually makes it more valuable to the holder, for scarcity reasons (as opposed to demand), in my opinion.

That said... I've purchased and am holding several B- & C- level (firstname)(lastname).com domains myself... if I sell enough of them, I'll buy my personal one.
 

broswoodwork

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That money and time would likely be better spent building a productocracy.

I've never been to jeffbezos.com, but I spend way too much time on amazon.com.
Jeff, Bill, and Warren seem to place zero dollar values on [firstlast].com. Mark Zuckerberg's brings you to his facebook profile. That was a fun waste of 10 minutes!
 

Digamma

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Right now I could only offer low 4 figures. Do you think I ought to try to contact him now and see if he'll sell it for 4 figures, or wait for a while until I have more $ to negotiate with?
Jesus no. Offer him much less.

Stop procrastinating. Shoot him a message with a lowball offer.

If you found him on social media, then you know his general socioeconomic status. Is $100 "money" to him? Then offer $100. $500?

Go lowball but not so much to be outright insulting. The offer is for his trouble since he's not using the domain anyway. Your frame is that the domain is worthless to him and useful to you, so it's a no brainer that you should have it.

The goal here is to entice someone who doesn't care about the domain name.

If that's incorrect and he wants more, let him tell you. Stop negotiating for him, which is what you're doing in this thread.
 

Sizemore

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I'm looking to buy a .com domain that has a private registration. It's for my full name: (firstname)(lastname).com, and my last name is relatively uncommon.

So the domain name is super unique and probably isn't worth much to many people except for the person who owns it and a minuscule handful of other people. The whois registration is private, but I think that I have identified the guy that owns it and I could contact him through social media. He has owned it since 2008 and it appears to be set to autorenew every year. Checking the wayback machine, he has had a really crappy WordPress site there since 2009 and hasn't updated it in years.

I'd like to try to buy the domain and negotiate directly with the owner rather than paying one of these agency services. Thoughts on this strategy? What is this type of domain worth and what should I offer?

I would get it at a different extension if you are not trying to drive traffic there today. Personally, I feel that the extension of a website won’t matter at all in the nearish future. I can’t remember the last time I typed a full domain address into the url bar. I type the business name into google which almost always delivers me exactly where I need to go... then my history autofills for me the next time I want to go to that site...

Not worth 4 figures IMO. That being said, after reading this thread I did purchase my daughters .com extension... (for 11 bucks) haha
 
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radar81

radar81

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Jul 23, 2019
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Brilliant advice fellas. I have a few thoughts. I'm gonna shoot him a lowball $100 offer to test the water. I'm gonna buy my daughter's .com too. IMO non .com TLD's confuse the baby boomers, particularly when it comes to email addresses.
 

rpeck90

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I bought a domain for $3,500 several years back, using the method you're talking about. Similar situation.

With this domain, I emailed the owner out of the blue, after I got denied from going to live in Italy for a year. Fraught with anger, I figured I'd spend the money on an asset to ensure it didn't happen again.

My email conversation went like something like this:

Hi ___,

I noticed you're the owner of X.com, would you be interested in selling?

If so, how much do you want for it?

Many thanks!
His response was that he'd had it for 20+ years, was not that open to selling, but was interested in what I would offer.

The figure in my head was that it was worth $10k, but I only had about $4k. I replied and said "I only have $3,500 presently - if this is something you'd entertain, I can move immediately".

He needed time to think about it, and ended up accepting the offer because he had CC debt and family issues. This was $3.5k for a 20+ year old domain which is brandable to my industry... equivalent to "limos.com".

-

In your case, I would do the following:
  1. Get a figure in your head as to what the domain is worth to you. 4 figs for a personal name is too much. @Digamma's post is very apt.
  2. Approach the seller directly (if possible) - keep correspondence to the point and focus on money.
  3. If you get a response, focus on the transaction. Make a sensible offer (nothing stupid -- people with high value names get hit with $100 offers all the time). If, for example, you feel the domain is worth $1,500, I would say something like "I believe the domain is worth about $1000, and because I want to make sure you're compensated properly, I'd be willing to offer $1150 with all bank fees covered by me - direct wire transfer".
  4. If they refuse, you can either bump your offer, or try and persuade them as cordially as possible. Whilst @Digamma is spot on, the issue of going "too" low is that you risk closing them off to further negotiation.
Hope this helps
 

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Sebastya

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I've used domain brokers in the past with varying success. The alternative is to email every 3 months and see if they're still interested or work out a payment plan (which is how Noah Kagan finally got Sumo.com after trying for so long).
 

MJ DeMarco

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I’d memorize half of Voss’ book Never Split The Difference before I even contacted the guy. For all you know he bought the domain for his kid.
+1
 

Champion

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Interesting post. I have never actually tried messaging domain owners to see if they would sell their domain to me.

I wonder why he has kept paying for the registration if he isnt really using the site... probably hes not noticing that his credit card gets dinged every month.
 

biophase

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Interesting post. I have never actually tried messaging domain owners to see if they would sell their domain to me.

I wonder why he has kept paying for the registration if he isnt really using the site... probably hes not noticing that his credit card gets dinged every month.
It’s like $12-$20/year. Why would he care?
 

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